Congress passed the Rail Passenger Service Act in 1970, and established the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRCP). This was a public-private profit-making entity that received government funding to provide a centralized intercity passenger rail service. Privately operated passenger lines were encouraged to become part of the NRCP and 20 systems signed up. All NRCP routes and rights of way had been established prior to its inception. The NRCP renamed itself Amtrak (‘America’ and ‘trak’), and rebranded its trains, advertising and uniforms by the time of its first operation on 1 May 1971, aiming to reinforce the message that the rail service was being revitalized. However, its schedule book for July 1971, shows a dramatically reduced intercity service. Amtrak had pared down the number of previous passenger routes by half, but retained the remaining schedules unchanged. Every route was in a ‘city pair’ to ensure that a minimum of two major cities would be connected, for example New York to Boston or Chicago to Los Angeles.
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